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Spring Has Sprung! Has Your Teen?

spring_flowers_party_quote_1331268735

Spring. Spring Break. And How to Get Your Teen to Spring Up With It.

Whether Uncle Sam is leaving you with a little extra spending money this spring, or he’s collecting his dues, there are lots of different ways you can enjoy the burst of spring — and the break it brings — with your kids (and maybe even get your teens to spring up too).

There is the typical travel to the typical destinations (who doesn’t love a spring break trip?  WooHoo!).  Yet check out these 5-Under-The-Radar-Spring-Break-Getaways. Many of these are in specific locales, yet similar venues exist in numerous geographic areas . . . perhaps even yours.

Having a spring break staycation? What a perfect way to re-group. While you’re staying and cationing, maybe there are some jaunts you can take to spring up your teen and get the springtime endorphins flowing throughout the family.

  • Consider an IMAX theater showing. In various science centers, museums and other locations, IMAX movies can offer a delight into nature and adventure, and can generally appeal to all ages.
  • What venues exist right around you that you never have time to visit . . . unless you’re hosting (and touring around with) out-of-town guests? You’ll be pleasantly reminded about what’s out there if you take a moment to think . . . and peruse your local offerings.
  • Try a park. Take a Frisbee. What about local lakes, hiking areas, or coastal destinations that may be within a day’s trip?

And don’t forget the good ole fashioned fun and creativity that can come with the staying part of the staycation.

  • If you can’t beat those video games, join ‘em! Join in on that Wii tennis, Xbox soccer game or Playstation dance marathon. Try a family tournament . . . invite some friends. Show your kids that you can “Just Dance” with the best of ‘em!
  • Try some chocolately fun recipes. Once it gets started, you’ll never know who will flock into the kitchen to “help” and take a peek.
  • Make a movie on your computer or your PDC (personal device of choice). Chances are, your kids can lead the way, if that’s not up your alley. Try a music video too. Make a mix of the old with the new and give your kids a taste of the “oldies but goodies.”
  • Are there movies that came and went from the theater, that you never had time to see? Browse your selections. Pick a favorite that came and went. Find a favorite of yours from your childhood. Let everyone take a pick. (I’ll never forget the way my kids ROARED OUT LOUD watching The Love Bug one night (I TOLD THEM they would love it!).
  • Pull out some games off the shelf. The laughter, comraderie and “teamness” (not to mention a little friendly family competition) can be contagiously fulfilling.
  • Share some card games. Fill in your kids on the ones from the past. Don’t remember all the rules? Not to worry – Google does. Cards games like Spit, War, Hearts, Spoons, I Doubt It can be a sure fire way to some lightened up fun.
  • Have a smorgasbord. Everyone make their favorite food and dig in. (You may even have some leftovers giving you more time for fun another day.)

However spring is springing in your neck of the woods, whether you’re jetsetting, travelling, visiting or enjoying the beauty of “home,” may this spring break leave you with some fresh ideas and a spring in your family’s step. Enjoy . . .

I Must Have THE TALK (and other prose)

Blog photo The Time Has Come

In honor of National Poetry month, and inspired by Marvin K. Mooney . . . Dr. Seuss . . . and all the moms, dads, and pre-teen kids who read my books, I share this with you:

It’s Time for THE TALK, But I Don’t Know How

The time has come. The time is now.
I must have THE TALK, but I don’t know how.
My kid’s at that age — that she just needs to know.
My dear, oh dear, just how will it go?

There’s growing and shaving; all the puberty stuff too
And where do babies come from! WHAT’S A MOM TO DO?
That’s when I found Corky and a dude called Bork
To help tell the kids: IT’S NOT REALLY THE STORK!

Just click right here and you’ll have ALL YOU NEED
To help you complete this pre-adolescent deed
You made it through potty training and the terrible twos
It’s just the next stage of life in your mommy dues

Trust me when I say the books make it fun
Some kids laugh out loud shortly after page one
Dive in this minute and don’t wait any more
The time is now. We’ll help you open the door.

1 of the Best Animations I’ve Seen

Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is one of the best animated movies I’ve seen. Full of intellect and humor, it’s a heart-warming display of parental love and guidance, intertwined with vivid, entertaining history lessons and a glimpse of peer pressure, getting along, and standing up for yourself. We laughed, we smiled, our hearts sank here and there while we were taken back in time in virtual reality to the French Revolution, ancient Egypt, Italy in the Renaissance, the Trojan War and more. We left the theater feeling good all over, having laughed while endorphins ran through us, and feeling just a little more in tune with history. And let me not sign off without mentioning the adorable little tail wag at the end, signifying it all — the bond between a father dog and his human son.
(And speaking of parental love & guidance, peer pressure, and getting along, check out my books . . . they touch on all these things too.)

An Amazing Reminder That Discipline is Love

Finnhorse_mare_with_foal
Love = Discipline.
It’s hard to remember, and sometimes harder to enforce. My daughter and I saw an amazing thing the other day . . . at a horse rescue farm . . . that has served as a remarkable reminder that loving means disciplining. I’ll set the stage:

We’re looking on – into a small horse corral. In it there is a lively colt and his human handler. The colt quickly moves from lively to uncontrollable. While the handler is proficiently directing and leading the colt out of the corral, the colt refuses any attempt to be guided or led through the gate. After many attempts, the colt will have nothing to do with walking through the gate. He insists on charging toward the wooden barracks, at an unsafe and uncontrolled pace. He is jumping and thrashing, while putting his head up toward the handler as if to say, well, _____ you! He didn’t stop there. That little colt even stomped his hoof right at the handler, in timed cadence, protesting each of her requests and directions.
“Wow,” I said to the other horse trainer who was looking on.
“Is that bred in . . . does it have anything to do with his mother being rescued and giving birth to him here? Was the mother mis-treated, abused? Has it passed down to her offspring?”

“No,” replied the trainer.
“His mother doesn’t show him what he can and can’t do. She’s never disciplined him. She lets him do whatever he wants. It’s almost like she doesn’t care.”

WOW.

“How old is he?”
“3 months.”

WOW. I stopped in mid-sentence, in my muddy tracks, and let that all sink in.

Amazing.

Love is, in fact, discipline, at all levels of nature, from humans to horses, right down the lines.

That led to an amazing discussion between my 11 year old daughter and me. A discussion about discipline and love. And how sometimes they are one in the same . . . and that, as parents, we discipline because we love you. We discipline to teach you because we want the best for you (even though it doesn’t usually seem that way.) We talked about how hard that young, little colt’s life is because he doesn’t know what to do and what not to do. We talked about how, because his mom has never disciplined him, he doesn’t get along with other horses, other people, and therefore, is missing out on so much in life.

No doubt the trainers and handlers at the rescue farm will give him the love and discipline he needs; and they’ll turn his life around . . . patiently, slowly, and surely.

That day will be forever etched in my mind . . . serving as a beautiful reminder about how love is discipline. So, the next time you’re delivering a consequence – in response to undesirable behavior from your kids – and they’re telling you, “You’re mean!” and “That’s not fair!,” Remember The Little Colt. And remind yourself that . . . to discipline . . . is . . . to love.

Parents: ON STRIKE

Making Dinner Two

I’m a loving parent. And I’m going on strike.

I’m striking against Lack of Appreciation. Otherwise known as Not Knowing How Good We Kids Have It.

It’s not that I’m looking for a thank you (although who am I kidding, that would be nice) or increased pay or more days off (now THERE‘s a concept). I just want to lay a little low, and do remarkably less, so these wonderful, developing kids of mine appreciate what they have.

It would look something like this:

Instead of the plate of eggs, toast, fruit and juice awaiting the sauntering teen in the morning (what is it about the compulsiveness of us parents to fill ’em with the good stuff?), my teen would find me (quietly on strike), sipping her coffee, reading the paper. As I see him come in, I might say, “Could you pour me a little more coffee, while you’re up?”

And he’d be on his own. On his own, at least (albeit in those wee early school morning hours), to find his own breakfast. And lunch. Dinner too. And then some. What the heck, we are trying to make a point.

Yah, I know; he might just skip breakfast. Or throw a bar or handful of something less desirable in his mouth. But maybe, just maybe, he’d realize what is done for him, each day, every day. You know, all the stuff (the food) that just appears . . . with love, dedication, and dare I even say some sacrifice. Maybe just maybe, if it wasn’t there, he might appreciate it more when it is.

It’s not that I want to come off as being apathetic, nasty, or even passive aggressive, I just want these growing little kin of mine to have a little taste of nothing so they appreciate something that mom does, faithfully, day in and day out. No sick days for moms. No coming in late. The strike, it’s kind of like that “less is more” concept. Seems that those who have a little less appreciate what they have more. I could start a movement. One kitchen at a time. Let me know if you’re in, and I’ll get the coffee brewing and have your newspaper ready. 🙂

Teachable Moments . . . and Rock Concerts?

Rock Concert

First concerts.  We all remember them.  What was yours?  Mine — Shawn Cassidy.  1978.  Then the Beach Boys (yeah, so I’m dating myself.).  And, now, as I see my daughter rockin’ about, hearing ads for rock stars comin’ to town, I think of the concerts I attended after Shawn Cassidy and those Surfin’ Safari boys……and I cringe.  I mean, concerts don’t always breed the best behavior out there in society.  On top of that, I don’t even know what goes on today at those things.  I mean, my last concert was U2 a whole 2 decades ago.

So out comes the ad for Bruno Mars comin’ to town.  My daughter says, “Mom, you love Bruno Mars, don’t you?”  Huh.  Never really thought about it.  I mean, I don’t really think so.  She continues, “I mean, you love all his songs, don’t you?”  Well,  I think, I kinda do.  So, he’s comin’ to town, with Aloe Blacc as his opening act.  Have you heard him?  A little re-make of Elton John’s melody of “You Can Tell Everybody . . . “ followed by . . . “I’m the Man, I’m the Man.”  In listening to those words, I actually found some spiritual meaning intertwined in it all – in the catchy, familiar melody.  I even googled it, and found a little confirmation of this from some music analysts.  If you listen closely, you can hear some life – some humbling – life lessons.

So, I get to thinking.  Well, what about taking my daughter (she’s 11) to the concert?  I later see Bruno Mars in his notable Super Bowl half time show.  I mean, he’s got some talent.  And I didn’t exactly notice the vulgarity we’ve seen in some recent displays of pop stars.  “Yah, Mom! That could be my first concert.  Let’s go!”

I hesitate for a minute.

“No, sweet.  Your first concert was actually The Wiggles.  You were 2.”

But on to pondering about this first concert thing.  I ultimately decide it is – yet another – opportunity for teachable moments . . . while she still wants to go with ME.  There will be teachable moments everywhere.  What to do at a concert, and heck, yah, what not to ever do at a concert.  And, it’ll be a glimpse for me at what’s out there right now.

That’s it.  I’m booking it now.  What’s comin’ to your neck of the woods, with teachable rockin’ moments in tow???